Mercury - More Than A Dead Rock Revolving Around The Sun!

By Meera Dolasia on November 5, 2011

Word Search

Mercury, the smallest and innermost of all planets has always been thought to be rather dull, one where no evolution takes place. Besides the fact that it has no atmosphere and a strong iron core, It's most exciting feature was the narrow ridges that scientists believed evolved millions of years ago, when the planet was first formed - Now it turns out, there may be more to this tiny mysterious planet, than meets the eye.

New photos captured by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has revealed large hollows on the surface of the planet - ranging in size from 60ft. to over a miles across and between 60-120ft. deep. Since the hollows seem to be much younger than the craters they were found inside, scientists believe they are freshly made - A major surprise considering they had previously thought the planet was not evolving at all.

What makes this 'Swiss cheese' like depressions unique, is that this is the first time they have been found on a rocky surface. While Mars has similar hollows, they are present only in the carbon dioxide ice that covers the planet's South Pole.

Though scientists are not sure what is causing these, they have ruled out the effects of wind or water erosion for sure - That's because this tiny planet has no atmosphere and therefore, no wind or rain!

Since Mercury is so close to the sun, the hollows maybe a result of exposure to fierce heat and extreme space weather. One theory is that the sulfur and other volatile minerals present on the planet may be vaporizing thanks to the heat, solar wind and the micrometeoroid attacks the planet is subjected to every day. This in turn, leaves only a few minerals behind, weakening the rock and making it all spongy.

MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, Geochemistry and Ranging AKA MESSENGER, is a spacecraft commissioned by NASA to study the surface of Mercury. Launched in 2004, it made several flybys of the planet before finally getting into orbit around the planet in March, 2011. Since then, it has been sending back some images of the planet - We wonder what it will discover next - Some aliens perhaps?

Resource: science.nasa.gov

Listen to the Article: Play Audio

Create MLA, Chicago, or APA Website Citation

Create a website citation for this article. We support MLA8, MLA7, APA, and Chicago citation formats.

VocabularyPlay Game

erosionevolutionmicrometeoroidsulfur
275 Comments
to use your custom avatar.
  • moTuesday, January 31, 2017 at 12:50 pm
    cool
    • meTuesday, January 31, 2017 at 12:45 pm
      cool
      • Lionel Messi Friday, January 6, 2017 at 1:10 pm
        cool
        • KidMonday, November 14, 2016 at 5:37 am
          Zoey who knows they could exist
          • ZoeyThursday, October 27, 2016 at 6:35 pm
            I wish aliens existed!
            • Mad dogTuesday, October 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm
              So cool!
              • pandapuss
                pandapussMonday, February 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm
                Looks more like the moon that a dead boring rock🚀🚀
                • oSaturday, February 27, 2016 at 10:43 am
                  birdsxpress, there's another side that is very cold.
                  • 4jjjjjjjjjjjjjjThursday, February 11, 2016 at 5:19 pm
                    awesome
                    • aaikilvThursday, February 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm
                      SWEET

                      Our Apps and Plugins

                      ALA